Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Naturalism, Miracles, and Cause and Effect

The tendency of present-day Modernism, of course, is to merge everything into nature and to admit of no other causes. What the Modernist needs to prove, therefore, is not simply that natural causes operate uniformly, but that every physical effect must have a physical cause. That, however, he is unable to do, and that, we hold further, no one except an atheist has a right to assert. In our own natures we find that mind influences matter,--we will to walk or run, to play a piano or to lift a weight, and the effect of mind on matter is clearly seen. We do not understand how the result is accomplished, but we know that it is very real. And if God has so arranged it that our wills produce these physical effects, certainly there is no reason for denying that his omnipotent will may produce infinitely greater effects.

Loraine Boettner - Studies in Theology

Labels: , , ,


At Monday, December 03, 2007 5:48:00 PM, Blogger devalles said...

Ok...so...going back to square one: Descartes...now you have the preasure of explainning how is it that the non-physical and the physical (two substances that, presumably, share no properties in common) interact at all. That makes no sense. Plus, you are recurring to the mind as a mysterious entity. Finally, the affectations of our will can be accounted for by natural phenomena (that's why we do philosophy of mind, brain science, etc.). So, what is your point, really, in this posting? I dont want to be a pain, but common!!!

At Monday, December 03, 2007 11:58:00 PM, Blogger Doug E. said...

Hey Devalles,

Thanks for the comment. I would enjoy hearing your explanation of the mind and will as natural phenomena. Does the brain produce the mind or is the mind the brain? Are you saying the mind is material? Are thoughts material? If so what are they made of? I'm assuming that is what you are getting at if you don't think the physical and the non-physical can interact. Like the quote said, I don't know how the two interact but they sure seem to do so. God is the cause of this world and He is imaterial. Which I assume you believe (I am assuming you are a Christian because of another comment you made to me). Thanks for your thought provoking questions.


At Tuesday, December 04, 2007 7:39:00 AM, Blogger devalles said...

I think that the mind is instantiated by the brain. I think that high level cognition is achieved by lower level neuronal activity. I think cognition will ultimately prove to (at least partially) to be computational/representational.Obviously, there is so much we still dont know. But heres the thing, Doug: In a sense I dont want to say that everything that exists is physical. Right? Like you mentioned, numbers, justice, the law of non-contradiction, etc...all those things arent physical. And yet, I dont want to say they dont exist. So, they are physical, they just arent material objects. Perhaps they have substintence, rather than existence.

But I dont want to pose a substance dualism between the mind and the body, because, like you know, that solves nothing and that explains nothing and you know, we (christians) end up sounding not-very smart. Not that Im worried about sounding smart per se, but I think something as simple as the law of action by contact has to be right. Thus, two substances that share no properties in common simply dont intereact. To interact, they must share properties.

And that is the think, Doug: Im no sure we can begin with a dualist position, just because it seems intuitive to do so. Im not even sure that the Bible commits us to substance dualism. And Im not sure that God is immaterial...what does that even mean? I know, man, I got more questions than answers.

At Tuesday, December 04, 2007 2:07:00 PM, Blogger Doug E. said...

Thanks Devalles,

I responded to some of your thoughts on the other comment thread since they deal a lot with the same topic.

The thread under Atheistic Naturalism's false hope.

God Bless,



Post a Comment

<< Home